History Masters, Expectations and Tips

We are delighted that you are considering Western for your History Master’s Degree! These expectations and tips should help you present your best self. Applicants for admission to WWU’s History MA program are evaluated on the four criteria listed below. Applicants meeting some preferred criteria are more likely to be admitted and receive funding. Good luck!

Academic Background

Applicants must have:

  • received an undergraduate degree
  • earned a 3.0 overall GPA in their course of study. (Applicants with a GPA lower than 3.0, but who otherwise have a strong application package may be considered for admission)
  • have at least some coursework in History, including courses at the upper-division level

Preferably applicants will have:

  • a 3.25 GPA or above
  • a History major or minor
  • coursework in their proposed field of study
  • if applicable, appropriate language training

Statement of Purpose

This document (300-600 words) should:

  • explain the applicant’s reason for applying
  • describe their academic background
  • offer a general sense of their intended field of study and rationale for studying that field
  • state their intended faculty advisor (Find an advisor)
  • state their goals after obtaining the MA

Preferably, applicants:

  • are specific about their intended field of study
  • have ensured that field of study can be supported by their intended faculty advisor
  • can provide an example of a thesis topic or explain the types of historical questions that they intend to explore

Writing Sample

Writing Samples are separate from the Statement of Purpose and should:

  • be 10-25 double-spaced pages in length
  • be clearly written
  • have a clear thesis supported by evidence
  • engage with relevant historiography or, if in a discipline that is not History, methodology

Preferably samples will:

  • use primary and secondary sources to support the thesis
  • demonstrate a grasp of the historiography
  • articulate the argument’s stakes for the field of study

Letters of Recommendation

Given these criteria, we highly recommend obtaining letters from professors deeply familiar with an applicant’s best academic work. Applicants must solicit three letters of recommendation that:

  • speak to an applicant’s academic abilities, credentials, background, and potential
  • recommend applicant for admission
  • demonstrate academic relationship and knowledge of applicant as a student

Preferably, letters will:

  • provide specific examples of applicant’s academic abilities
  • include a stated belief in applicant’s ability to succeed
  • speak to applicant’s intellectual curiosity

If applicants request consideration for a TAship, they are also evaluated on a fifth criteria:

TA Preparation

In the designated text box:

  • state their desire to be a TA
  • describe the fields that they would feel comfortable as a TA based on their coursework preparation. (Regardless of coursework preparation, TAs will often be asked to teach outside their specific field and comfort zone)

Preferably, applicants will:

  • explain any relevant experience they may have